Little did we know when we woke up on Sunday morning, that 10/10/10 would hold more significance for us than just a numerology phenomenon!  After feeling contractions come and go on Friday night and Saturday, I woke up Sunday morning around 7:30 and wasn't surprised to feel them starting up again.  I could tell they were "real contractions" but I wasn't convinced they would amount to "real labor."  Before I knew it however, a few other symptoms fell into place and I began realizing that they were coming  constantly, at first every 12 minutes, then 10, then 7, etc.  By the grace of God, my sister Jennie was with us for the weekend and I mentioned to her that I was indeed counting contractions, "just in case" :) I honestly didn't think much was going to happen, but it wasn't very long until I realized that we were going to have to call Travis and let him know what was happening!  He was working at Church that morning and Jennie and I were home with Ava.  Of course he had a crazy busy day, with meetings lined up all afternoon, but soon they would become a moot point.  I called him around 9:30 and told him to come home because this was the real deal!  I don't think he truly believed me, but he came home anyway :) As soon as he saw me, he believed me!  By the time we were ready to leave, my contractions were about 4 minutes apart and I was beginning to feel the agony of labor with every one :) 
 Jennie took Ava to the park, so we could collect ourselves and to keep Ava from whining for me to pick her up while I was laboring.  We made sure to stop by for a quick kiss and a final picture of the 3 of us!
 She had no idea what was happening or why I was pacing around the parking lot before and after this photo, but for Trav and I, this was a huge milestone in our little family!  It started to hit me that we were leaving our first baby behind to go welcome our next baby into the world.  I remember getting in the car and driving away from her, feeling emotional and overwhelmed.  Just like our first drive to the hospital for Ava, I dissolved into tears pretty quickly and Travis reached out for my hand to hold, while he prayed for all that was about to take place.  I can still remember what he said when he prayed for Ava's delivery and now I remember what he prayed for Carter's delivery.  I've always been thankful for a husband who loves me and loves the Lord, but when your man is praying on your behalf for strength and endurance and safety, before you're about to give birth, there are hardly words to describe that kind of love...
 It was a good thing we left when we did, because I got to the hospital and quickly found that second babies progress MUCH faster than first time babies!  I came in at 5 cm and within the first hour, I was at 8 cm.  The nurses were scrambling to get my epidural in fast enough and my OB doctor was being paged to come over ASAP.  We got to our room by noon and everyone was convinced I would be pushing Carter into the world by 2.  It was crazy, exciting and great news to me!!  But, as I sit here and reflect on that day and how it actually played out, I can say now that it must not have been the Lord's plan for Carter to come that soon or that easily!  2pm came and went and I started to stall out at 8cm, in addition to a horrible bout with intense back labor and an epidural that was barely taking the edge off.  The mood in the room quickly moved from pleasant to intense :) 

Without rehashing every painful detail, over the next few hours I reached 10 cm and then began to push for and hour and a half.  Carter was not moving into the position we needed him to be in, so they stopped me and tried some crazy maneuver on me for another hour, trying to force him to move.  At that point they realized he was sunnyside up and they were hoping he would be able to move on his own.  He did move a little and it was decided that I could start pushing again to get this little guy out!  After another hour and a half, it became clear that he was indeed stuck and it was beginning to be risky for his health and mine to continue.  His heart rate was dropping and they were unsure if his cord was also wrapped around his neck.  

I wasn't prepared for the moment they told me we needed to change plans and have a c-section.  It was a hard pill to swallow, when I thought we were so close to having him and I was more than willing to keep pushing.  But, I knew my Doctor was giving me the best advice and Travis was helping me realize that we needed to do it.  Of course all kinds of things go through your mind at that moment, but it was a good lesson in remaining flexible and realizing that you just can't control everything. 
 They had Travis in scrubs before I knew it and I was prepped in just a few minutes for surgery.  I'm thankful again for a husband that helped calm my fears by praying with me as they began.  It was not an easy c-section, in fact it was very difficult for me.  I'm sure it would be a different story if it was planned and if my body wasn't as exhausted as it was, but nothing about it was easy.  I sincerely hope that was my last experience with a c-section!  
 I don't remember much, but they tell me Carter made his entrance into the world at 8:54pm!  I do remember hearing him cry and I was able to catch a glimpse of him for about 3 seconds...enough to make me cry :) He was a big baby, weighing 8lbs, 4oz and measuring 22" long.  He was a full pound and 2 oz bigger than Ava and an inch longer.  Good thing too, he's going to have to hold his own with his big sister, right??
Carter handled all the trauma of the day so well.  He was very healthy and just perfect.  What a little blessing he's been, from the first moment we realized we were adding to our family :) 
Meanwhile, as we were concentrating on Carter, his cute big sister was arriving at the hospital with her Grandpa, Grandma and Aunt Jennie!  Hard to believe we were welcoming her into the world just 18 months ago, at the same place :) 
Happy to be with Grampy :)
Not to mention Grammy!
 Or Aunt Jennie!!
I'm sad that I missed this moment, but thankful for my sister who took pictures and documented it for me.  Apparently this is the first time Ava "met" Carter, after she pointed at him and said "Car-tur"  Love it!!
 My Dad with his first grandson!  Carter is the first boy born into my side of the family :) My Mom and Dad have lots of practice with little girls, but having a boy is brand new territory!!  It won't be long before Carter is in my Dad's arms, also wearing a little Hawkeye hat!
 My Mom and Carter :) So glad she and my Dad were able to drive up and be there to meet Carter and help us with Ava.  It's always a good feeling when your Mom is near :) 
 18 months ago, Ava was in that bassinet, now she's a big girl and Travis is a Daddy of 2!!  
We are doubly blessed!
 I'm told Carter was awake and alert, just like Ava was.  He was quiet, but looking all around and taking everything in.  3 days later, he still has a similar disposition.  
 I can't tell you how grateful I am that my sister was with us for the weekend and available to help when we really needed her!  She was a lifesaver and it was such a blessing to be able to leave Ava in her hands and not worry about her all day.  Plus, I'm so glad she got to meet Carter too!  It was a long day for Jen, but she was a trooper and a good sister :) Can't wait for Aunt Stacie to come soon and get that same time with A & C.  I love my sisters and my kiddos are going to love their Aunts and Uncles as they grow up!!
 Carter was long awaited and while I couldn't be there to hold him in those first hours, there were no shortage of arms to take him!

I think I was in recovery for about an hour after the delivery.  They put me under after I was struggling to manage the pain and anxiety of the whole situation.  It was a good thing, but I'm a little sad we didn't get the same time and experience with Carter, in those first precious minutes.  
 I did get to see Travis and Carter around 10:30 or so and we were able to spend some sweet time together.  I loved studying his little features and taking all that sweetness in :) 
 I think I have the most handsome son in the world!
 I'll never forget this moment however!  Holding my darling son and smiling at my handsome husband.  I've got 2 guys in my life now, to join the 1 who held me so many years ago when I was born!  I am incredibly thankful for the 3 men God has blessed me with.  Carter has a wonderful heritage to follow and I am thankful to be his Mommy! 
 It's official!
 Travis is a proud Daddy :) 
First a sweet little girl and now a sweet little boy...what a gift they both are!
 Carter began his first day with a middle of the night bath :) 
 We couldn't get over all that dark, black hair!
 But mostly we couldn't get over him :) 
October 10th, 2010 was an eventful, historical and blessed day!  
We LOVE you sweet Carter and are so glad you are safe and in our arms.  

I couldn't have predicted the way that day unfolded, just like I can't predict all that God has in store for Carter's life.  But we trusted him with Carter's first day and we'll trust Him with the rest of his days.  
We are joyful, grateful, and full of praise for the one who made Carter Travis Armstrong!  

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers, especially as we updated on twitter and facebook during the delivery!  I've got lots of sweet pictures to share with you and I will continue to post them as I can today.  
We're all doing well and spending some good time together in the hospital.  Recovery has been much, much different this time around, but every day is better and I'm actually enjoying all the help and rest I'm getting here!  

Check back with us later for some photos of the last few days :) 


The Templeton's said...

Congratulations! I have read your blog since before Ava was born. I know that it is hard to swallow having a c-section it was for me, but it is all worth it in the end! So happy that you all have two beautiful healthy babies! Congrats to you and your family!

Rebecca Jo said...

Oh wow... you got there at noon - thought you'd push at 2 & you went in for your c-secton after 8???? now that's a rough day!!!! But what a end result! He looks so healthy & strong!

Love Ava's "Big sister" shirt!!!!

And you are so blessed to have such a comforting husband full of wonderful prayers...

cant wait to see more pictures!

Kendra said...

Hi Stephanie - I started reading your blog years ago when Kelly Stamps linked your pregnancy with Ava after your years of infertility. I was struggling with infertility at the time, so it was hopeful and inspiring to me!!

I now have 6 month old TWINS, so I haven't stopped by your blog much lately =). But I did just pop on today and see that Carter has arrived! Praise the Lord!!!

I just wanted to comment to 1) say congratulations! And 2) offer you some sympathy/encouragement. During my delivery,my son came out vaginally, and then my daughter turned and couldn't be turned back. Her heartrate plummeted and all of a sudden we were prepping to do an emergency c-section. It was all happening so fast and the room was so tense and I was terrified. My epidural was gone, and I ended up having to be put under for her delivery. They had made my husband leave the room, so we both missed our daughters birth. I was under for awhile after she was born, and had a hard time coming out of I missed A LOT of those first moments.

It's HARD.

I STILL (6 1/2 months later) sometimes will go back and forth between just feeling grateful we all made it out alive and well, and feeling bitter that I missed so much. It felt like such a ROUGH start to our early days. But- as you already well know=) - God is faithful and He restores. I will be praying He brings any healing to your heart that you may need for missing out on those early moments.

Also- I don't know if you intend to breastfeed (and I am not trying to say you should or anything, just wanted to offer some "experience" if you did WANT to) but my milk took THREE WEEKS to fully come in because of the stress on my body from the delivery and anesthesia. Three weeks! It finally did though and I am glad I stuck with it. I saw some great Lactation Consultants (outside of the hospital after discharge) and they just kept encouraging me to stick with it and gave me a good plan. I would nurse the babies even though nothing really was coming, but for supply and demand purposes, and then we would feed them their formula in their bottles. Slowly over time, I began to make enough to feed them and we weened them off formula! Again, I don't know if you plan to BF or not, but I just wanted to say that I thought it was hopeless post c-section and general anesthesia, and it wasn't. It just took awhile.

Prayers for a speedy recovery.

Blessings to you and your family!!!

Jen S. said...

I've been following your blog for a long time now, and want to wish you a big CONGRATS on your beautiful, new son! He is so cute! The pictures are wonderful...I especially love the one of Ava with her grandparents meeting her new brother for the first time... priceless! And her "Big Sister" shirt is too cute!
You have a beautiful family, and I always enjoy your blog. You are so uplifting and I always learn so much from you.

Hugs to you and your wonderful family!

Christine said...

What a handsome baby boy! Congratulations.

Melissa @ i carry your heart said...

Congratulations! It sounds like it was a tough day, but of course worth it in the end. Carter is adorable. I've enjoyed reading about your experiences. Hope everything is going smoothly at home.

amy said...

Steph! So glad he made it safely... i totally understand the trauma of the c-section! and let me just say, the pain after labor and pushing AND a c-section is SO much more intense than a regular scheduled c-section! it took me quite some time to recover from abby's birth (both physically & emotionally), but after having planned c-sections, with both boys, had great recoveries!!! we are praying for you & travis as you adjust to being a family of 4 and for sweet little Ava as she enters the new world of being a big sister! we love you guys!
:) amy & justin, abby, josiah & jeremiah

Toni :O) said...

What a sweet post and I was thinking of that date and wondering if he'd awesome! I completely feel your pain and recovery. I had a 21 hour labor with my first born, my son too, when I had to go in for a c-section. Not fun, soooo tiring so I know where you're coming from. Trust me, with each passing day, you'll start to feel better and better. Careful laughing...cause it HURTS! Keep family around to help, that's HUGE in your recovery. My second was a scheduled c-section and much easier as I knew what to expect. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions or need some extra support from someone *who's been there* Many hugs and happy wishes during this amazing time with your new son. Congratulations again, I'm so thrilled for everyone! I'm sure your mom and dad must just be over the moon with a new grandson. I have the only grandson for my parents too and it's a special place to be! :O)

Holly said...

So glad Carter is here... wow what a day you had. I know it must be exhausting emotionally to look back on all of it. You will LOVE having your kiddos 18 months apart. They are the best of friends and most likely will be total opposites. Love you!